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Blockchain Fallout: Unraveling the Consensus 2018 Conference


By Jenny Lynton

From Ripple (XRP)’s legendary SnoopDogg after-party to a Lambourgini showdown on the streets of New York, the Consensus 2018 Blockchain Conference certainly lived up to its glamorous hype and eclipsed the headlines last week. About 8,500 attendees participated in the fourth annual Blockchain conference- almost triple the number seen last year.

With the swanky guest list ranging from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, it seems like the entire crypto-sphere was all under one roof, and ready to network with industry titans, blockchain players and attendees from almost every vertical. In case you couldn’t get a ticket to the blockchain party, we’ve got the all the highlights for you. We also used the Coinwatch Platform and News Sentiment feature to gain some deeper insights into the crypto market.

How the Blockchain Conference Impacted the Market

While crypto-enthusiasts were hyping the conference as a big push to drive momentum to the market, we looked at the one of the leading altcoins Ripple (XRP) to see if it lived up to the hype. As we can see, Ripple peaked at $0.72 on May 13 before the conference. During the event, the coin fluctuated around $0.72 before dipping and gaining ground again to rise to $0.67 after the conference on May 18. Though the platform didn’t seem to initially have gained as much traction as crypto-enthusiasts had hoped, there was a great deal of breakthroughs and developments, which could have a significant impact in the future.

Key Insights from the Conference

Evidently the conference was a hotbed of debate, drawing industry insights from multiple voices and angles. In a report by Cantor Fitzgerald, we can find the key takeaways from the conference.

One of the top trends was a discussion about a unified currency to counteract the coin confusion, as there are currently around 1,900 cryptocurrencies circulating the market. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said: “I’m just approaching with the principle that the Internet deserves a native currency. It will have a native currency. I don’t know if it will be Bitcoin.”

Some discussed whether crypto ‘can hold value’ as a credible entity in the future, especially as the market has been vigorously in a whipsaw. This led to a discussion regarding how exactly to valuate Blockchain companies.

Another hot topic was the issue of how to map the regulatory landscape. This prickly subject has been hitting the headlines recently due to a surge of crypto-hacking and scam investigations. This evidently led to a growing regulatory clamp-down, especially from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Nevertheless, Cyber Unit chief Robert Cohen tried to clarify at the Conference that ‘the SEC has been open about meeting with people from the industry, to come in and meet with the staff, to talk about the ideas you have, the new developments, and have a dialogue about the new technology. The commission encourages ways to raise capital; we don’t regulate the technology – we regulate the financial industry and the markets.’

Blogger Adam Ghahrami noted how many companies are being affected by the regulation clamp-down. The blockchain industry is headquartered in Malta and was previously left unchecked, and the SEC regulations have left ‘the best crypto companies to headquarter in foreign lands and forego investment dollars from U.S. citizens.’ ShapeShift and Prism CEO, Erik Voorhees highlighted how the company will ‘have to spend a third of their resources, measured by time, money, and attention, just to manage regulations.’

Other heavyweights discussed how Blockchain technology is still in the emergent stages, with a great deal of ideas, but these need to be fine-tuned. Many agreed that the technology has the potential to disrupt industries and make a powerful impact.

Another notable trend was that many financial giants are gradually catching blockchain fever and paving the foundations for Blockchain applications. Some of the prominent players include Bank Consortium, JP Morgan and Quorum. This reinforces a recent report by Deloitte that ‘38% of companies are spending $5-10m on projects and 43% are calling it a Top 5 Strategic Opportunity.’

Fresh Blockchain Developments Unveiled

The conference provided perfect opportunity for industry shakers and entrepreneurs to exhibit their latest applications, platforms and developments. Some exhibitors really pushed the boundaries in terms of marketing creativity, such as Ledger with a diamond-encrusted version of its hardware wallet or messaging platform Mainframe filling balloons with token coins that floated over people’s heads.

Blogger Billy Bambrough interviewed some of the key startups at the conference, including Blocksafe Alliance. CEO Duane Jacobsen who discussed how the company ‘is providing a decentralized application to owners of mobile devices which is aimed at keeping them safe and aware in potential active gun shooting situations.’

Additionally, many companies announced new blockchain initiatives and partnerships at the conference. Smartphone giant HTC announced plans to create an Exodus Android phone that will be powered by blockchain technology. HTC’s Virtual Reality head, Phil Chen said ‘through Exodus, we can support underlying protocols such as Bitcoin.’ He added that ‘we would like to support the entire blockchain ecosystem’ and thinks ‘that the phone can be an agent in the future for decentralisation.’ He continued that ‘we want you to hold your own key [through] a secure management method in our phones.’

Financial heavyweight Deloitte Consulting LLP also exhibited some innovative products and services that can harness the benefits of blockchain technology. The highlight was a secure platform that uses blockchain hardware ‘cryptographic tags.’ The tags will provide a unique digital ID to track products in the supply chain and share these with educators and employers. Deloitte Consultant Joe Guastella said that blockchain ‘technology has already inspired the industry to re-examine processes and functions that have been static for decades.’ Lastly, Guastalla added how ‘we are broadly seeing applications in production’ and ‘developing them ourselves for clients and we believe this momentum will continue.’